Wild attacks against FC Bayern: Desperate Manuel Neuer screams for help

A lot of frustration has built up with Manuel Neuer - and it is released in a remarkable interview.

Wild attacks against FC Bayern: Desperate Manuel Neuer screams for help

A lot of frustration has built up with Manuel Neuer - and it is released in a remarkable interview. In this, the captain is harsh with his FC Bayern to court. And that may end his time with the record champions.

The chances that Manuel Neuer will keep FC Bayern's goal in the coming season have dropped dramatically this Friday. However, this has nothing to do with the healing process of his injured leg, rather the prospects of a "Koan-Neuer" future in Munich are a verbal late consequence of the serious skiing accident to treat his anger and frustration, which shouldn't have been more dangerous than it was the walk to "get a roll". Anyone wondering how all of this fits together into a puzzle that ends the career of perhaps the best goalkeeper at the record champions must read the 36-year-old's remarkable interview. It's an elusive conversation of helplessness, loss of control, reckoning and apology, over which the question hovers: what's the point and why now?

In the last two months, foreign forces have taken control of Neuer's career. His outburst in the interview published at the same time and with the same content in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and "The Athletic" is a rebellion against this loss of control. The real newcomer communicates past his club, Bayern Munich. The boy from the pot who made it all the way to the top and now has to experience how quickly things can go downhill at the end of a career. But the career, says the 36-year-old, is far from over. It was just bad months.

It all started at the World Cup in Qatar, when the national players suddenly found themselves in the desert wind. "At that point we were athletes who were about to play the first group game of the biggest tournament ever," says Neuer, reporting on the "block and leg" that they had to carry around with them instead of the "One Love" bandage. "Nobody was pushed, nobody was forced," he says of the mouth-to-mouth gesture that stood before the defeat against Japan and which was probably also discussed controversially in the team circle. Neuer wanted to object to FIFA, but in the end, worldwide malice spilled over those who tried it. Because Germany lost and was eliminated and a lot was attached to this protest.

Not everything, because things didn't go well for Neuer in terms of sport either, who was blamed for the late Japanese goal in the German defeat. Massive headwind again. "When it was said after the World Cup that I was responsible for the failure, that really hurt me in a way," says Neuer, who had fought his way to the World Cup but was no longer able to convince in the first games of this season. He was more insecure and had to answer for the 2-2 draw in Dortmund because he was already ailing, but national coach Hansi Flick stood by him. Others don't. "I don't know if it was a campaign, but it went in that direction," Neuer explains this loss of control, which continued.

Instead of fighting for a place in the Lusail final in Qatar, he was now at home in Bavaria and couldn't even go on vacation to Iceland. It was booked for December 19th. Nothing to do. "And then I sat here and it really sucks," he recalls, and that he wanted to do something about this feeling. Out into nature, his "therapy". But nature had also turned against him. On the way to "get a roll", on a ski tour that he had done so many times before, something stopped him and broke his shin. What was supposed to be a training session turned into the greatest disaster for a keeper.

It wasn't the injury that drove him insane, but the fact that he had hurt the people around him and that, he does not say, his club had suffered significant financial damage as a result of this accident. He said he was "not a shit rabbit who ducks away". But of course he was one who could only report that things had gone wrong again. In addition to "One Love", the criticism of him, the World Cup, the fracture of the tibia was added. A month that changed everything.

And that was just the prelude to new debates and an escalation on Säbener Straße, at the end of which Yann Sommer was a serious competitor in Bayern's goal and his friend and coach Toni Tapalovic was relieved of his duties. Everything that happened was out of his control. Neuer, who can read the game from behind like no other goalkeeper who reinvented the game and shaped entire generations, suddenly finds himself in a defensive position at the end of this downward spiral. But he doesn't want to defend himself, he doesn't want to duck away, just explain how something happened that turned his life upside down, which led to his club even "ripping his heart out" from him, the captain. has.

Once again he wants to stand up, once again he fights for his legacy and for regaining control of his career. The technical process of healing will eventually be completed and he wants to compete, he's hungry, he loves this game way too much to just give up. The question now is what Bayern will do with it. In a first reaction, club boss Oliver Kahn made it clear how little he thinks of the criticism of his successor as Titan and how wrong he finds the timing.

For Munich, who are still in the earnings crisis in the Bundesliga, the giant duel with Paris St. Germain in the Champions League is imminent. Rest in the team would be a wise form of preparation. But now she faces escalation. Because the words that Neuer chooses as an accusation have as subtext: defamation, violence and ruthlessness. The fact that this does not happen out of the first emotion, but at a distance, should be an indication that Neuer chose these words very consciously.

And that he addresses them to two people specifically: head coach Julian Nagelsmann and sports director Hasan Salihamidžić. Nagelsmann is said to have been the driving force behind Tapalovic's expulsion. Neuer also sees the attack on his friend as an attack on himself. And his pillar of sanctity. The sports director had already shaken that when he signed Alexander Nübel, a talented goalkeeper, as a potential successor in the summer of 2020. That's how Neuer felt.

The young keeper, also a Schalke player, was said to have been promised a steady number of appearances. Neuer reacted angrily, stressing that he always wanted to be the "protagonist". In Munich, in the DFB team. He didn't see any competition because there was no competitor in his world. That is now changing. With Sommer there is a keeper who may have been the stronger in the past year and a half. And with Nübel, the talent that gave the Tapalovic stone the last push and always emphasizes wanting to be number one, is coming back in the summer.

The world of new loyalists at the record champions in Munich has shrunk rapidly in the past year and a half. Maybe the keeper is now even alone in the battle of the alpha animals. With Tapalovic, Boss Salihamidžić has already shaved the second man after Hansi Flick, now national coach, who had defended Neuer against all odds. Flick always let the keeper play and gave a damn about the Bosnian's alleged promises. A part that led to the escalated power struggle. And Neuer also had his problems with Salihamidžić himself. For example, when the contract is extended in 2020. The keeper's side launched allegations of indiscretion. A suspect was not openly named, but it didn't take much for Salihamidžić to be exposed as the man the goalkeeper was disappointed in. Then as now, it was about appreciation.

The remarkable interview at least paints the picture of a fighter who, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo in his fatal interview in autumn 2022, has not yet given up. The question remains whether Neuer still has any control over this.

(This article was first published on Saturday, February 04, 2023.)